As you get older your health may change and with it your needs. Being prepared can help you stay healthy for longer, understand and deal with changes in your health, get the right care and know your rights when you do need healthcare.
You may not always know you'll be going into hospital, but when you do it's a good idea to plan ahead. Deciding what you'll take with you, thinking about the information you need, and knowing how the hospital should manage your return home can all make your hospital stay more manageable.
Your rights to NHS care are set out in the NHS Constitution. These cover things like how you access services, the quality of the healthcare you’re offered and how to make a complaint if something goes wrong. The Constitution also explains things you can expect which aren’t a legal right.
Mental health problems are extremely common, affecting around one in four people. As you get older, changes in your life, such as bereavement, illness or retirement, can make you more vulnerable to them, but poor mental health is not a normal part of ageing.